Let’s get it out of the way first.
“The team that wins the off-season doesn’t often win the real season”
“It’s a great team… on paper”
“NFL games aren’t won in August”
Blah. Blah. Blah.
I seem to remember the same being said about the Phillies before this season. A ton of writers even went out of their way to pick the Braves to win the division.
As the Phillies rampage towards 100+ wins, it turns out teams that are pretty awesome on paper can be pretty awesome of the field too.
So let’s, for the moment, bask in the glory that is the current Philadelphia Eagles depth chart.
This isn’t going to be an in-depth analysis – but rather a quick submersion into kool-aid with rose colored glasses. Or – the pie-in-the-sky look at each player (Not literally each player, just the starters and notable back-ups).
Michael Vick – Arguably the single most physically gifted player in the league. In just one year under Andy Reid, he turned in the best season of his career. It’s flat out scary to think what he could be if he continues to get better.
Vince Young – And for a back-up? A 28-year old, former #3 overall pick, two-time pro bowler with a 30-17 career record as a starter.
LeSean McCoy – Last season LeSean McCoy joined Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Emmitt Smith, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Ray Rice, Curtis Martin and Jerome Bettis as players who had more that 1,670 yards from scrimmage in a season before their 23rd birthday (since 1990). He is currently our 3rd or 4th best offensive weapon.
Ronnie Brown – A 29-year old former 2nd overall pick and pro-bowler who can run the wildcat better than most any RB in football.
DeSean Jackson – The league’s most explosive big play threat since Deion Sanders.
Jeremy Maclin – Joined Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald and Hakeem Nicks as the only WR with 950+ yards and 10+ touchdowns before their 23rd birthday (Since 1980).
Jason Avant – The man Andy Reid just called “the best inside WR in the NFL.”
Steve Smith – 26 years old, former pro-bowler and only one year removed from a 1,220 yard, 7 TD campaign. He’s our 4th, perhaps even 5th, WR.
Riley Cooper – 6’3”, 220 lbs, legit red-zone threat in his 2nd year
Brent Celek – One of only 5 tight-ends with 1,400 yards and 12 TD over the last two seasons. The others are Antonio Gates, Vernon Davis, Tony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark.
Jason Peters – Considered one of the top LT’s in football.
Todd Herremans – When healthy, an above average and versitile lineman.
Jamaal Jackson – When healthy, was considered one of the top Centers in football.
Danny Watkins – A jacked fireman.
Ryan Harris – A potentially huge upgrade over Winston Justice, he’s smooth and athletic in pass protection.
Trent Cole – Joins Demarcus Ware and Jared Allen as the only players with 50+ sacks and 250+ tackles over the last 5 years.
Jason Babin – 2010 pro-bowler who was 6th in the NFL in sacks last year and is rejoining his DL coach in Philly.
Juqua Parker – 14 sacks and 3 forced fumbles over the last two seasons.
Cullen Jenkins – Hugely disruptive on the inside and can pass rush as well. Peter King had him rated as the 3rd best FA on the market at any position.
Mike Patterson – Above-average starter at his position.
Trevor Laws - Break-out candidate who finished with 4 sacks, a forced fumble and an INT last year.
Jamar Chaney – In his first start last year he had 16 tackles.
Casey Matthews – If he’s 75% of the player his brother is, he’s a pro-bowler.
Moise Fokou – Hmmm… OK … can’t find something for EVERYONE
Nate Allen – On his way to a very promising rookie campaign before his injury.
Kurt Coleman – See Fokou
Jaiquan Jarrett – Supposedly one of the more NFL-ready safeties in the draft.
Nnamdi Asomugha – The best CB in all of football. No big deal.
Asante Samuel – The best route-jumper in all of football. Leads NFL with 36 INTs over last 5 years, 4 more than anyone else.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – Athletic freak. Scouts Inc. graded him as the 9th best CB in the league after 2009. He’s now our 3rd CB.
So there you have it. I count something like 17 pro-bowlers, or future pro-bowlers. Just soak it all in.
Will it translate on the field? Not perfectly it won’t, but I don’t think its a stretch to say the expectation for this team is 13-14 wins.
It all start tonight against the Ravens. Feel free to put any game comments here.